Somerset councils secure funding for nuclear site impact reports

Power company EDF Energy is making £1.3 million available to three Somerset local authorities over the next six months to carry out further studies on the impact of its Hinkley Point C nuclear proposal.

The offer follows an agreement reached by EDF with Somerset County Council, West Somerset District Council and Sedgemoor District Council in 2009 to provide financial support for authorities to assess the plans.

"The project is now entering a different phase as we will shortly submit our application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission. This will change the amount and type of work the councils will need to do," said an EDF spokesman.

He added: "EDF Energy remains committed to working with the community as the project progresses."

Meanwhile, the Environment Agency has extended the deadline for comment on two environment permit applications related to Hinkley C submitted by NNB Generation Company, a joint venture between EDF Energy and Centrica, until 15 December. The original deadline was 6 October.

The applications relate to discharges and disposal of radioactive waste and operation of stand-by power supply systems. A further application to make water discharges from the proposed station has also been received by the Environment Agency.

"We recognise the high public interest in the Hinkley Point C site and have decided that extending our consultation within our existing permit programme is possible," said an agency spokesman. "We also think it will help if people see all three applications together, including the application for cooling water discharges."

On Monday, up to 400 anti-nuclear campaigners blockaded the gates at the Hinkley Point site for nine hours in protest against EDF’s nuclear expansion plans.

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